Page 74 - Security Today, September/October 2021
P. 74

By Matt Jones
TOhe Year of Recalibration
n one hand, it seems impossible to talk about themes of campus safety or campus security without mentioning the elephant in the room that is COVID-19. On the other hand, after a year and a half, it seems as though there’s only so much left to say on the topic. Wear a mask? Check. Maintain social distancing? Check. Get the (now FDA-approved) vaccine? Check.
That said, the specter of coronavirus is starting to fade, at least a little. K¬–12 students recent- ly returned to in-person learning full time, and college students are back on campus. Amid a flurry of mask mandates and vaccine mandates—or, in select states, despite the stalwart ban against them—students, faculty and staff seem more than eager to put on airs of normalcy once again.
It’s a little early to declare the pandemic finished. The delta variant is still out there, and as of this writing, it’s too soon to tell how the return to school will affect case numbers nationwide. And in this issue of Campus Security & Life Safety, you’ll still find timely information and resources about indoor air quality and healthy schools. But as the third academic year tinged by COVID begins, even the precautions surrounding the virus are starting to feel old-hat. We’re getting the time and mental space again to be able to turn our attention to other things.
It’s nice to be able to widen the scope, to resume discussions of important issues facing educa- tional institutions that have nothing to do with the virus. There’s bandwidth once again to delve into topics like crime prevention and general campus safety tips, ever-present risks to stay aware of that now seem almost delightfully familiar and mundane. There are also graver dangers like active shooters—no more or less likely than they were two years ago, but still a threat that requires advance preparation and a coordinated response. None of these topics is new. But it’s been a bit since we could give them our full attention.
I like to think of the 2021¬¬–22 academic year as the year of getting back to basics. The year when we shook our heads as if to clear them, trying to remember what we were concerned with before coronavirus took over the world. It’s the year of remembering how to make small talk in the hallways; the year of being able to shoot your hand up and ask a quick, casual question during class; and, yes, the year of retraining your body to wake up at 7 a.m. instead of 7:55 for an 8 a.m. lecture. Getting “back to normal” won’t happen with the flick of a switch. It’ll take some time to exhale.
This year of recalibration also gives us the chance to see old problems with fresh eyes. It’s a bit like getting stuck on a crossword puzzle and staring at it for so long that you’re not even seeing it anymore. So, then, you’ll step away to do the dishes, take the trash out, fold some laundry, take a quick mental break. And when you sit back down to the puzzle, more often than not, you’ll find that no sooner have your eyes hit the page than that elusive answer to 34-Down pops into your head entirely unbidden.
That’s obviously an oversimplification. But there’s almost always value in returning to familiar problems with clear heads. Fresh perspectives and new experiences often lead to entirely new avenues of problem-solving. And, after the last 18 months, finding new ways to tackle campus crime feels more surmountable than living through a pandemic.
Matt Jones Senior Editor
Campus Commentary
Editor-in-Chief Senior Editor E-news Editor
Senior Art Director
Production Coordinator
Ralph C. Jensen Matt Jones Brent Dirks
Laurie Layman
Teresa Antonio
Jeff Karpovich, CPP, CHPA, CSSP, Chief/Director, Security & Transportation, High Point University, High Point, NC
Alison Kiss, Executive Director at Clery Center, Strafford, PA
Mark Kissel, K-12 Chief of Police (Retired); Principle Kissel Consulting LLC, Bethlehem, GA
Greg Klaiber, Director of Emergency Management, Northwestern University, Evanston IL
Joseph Souza, Director of Security and Technology at
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Chief Tom Weitzel, Riverside Police Department, Riverside IL Jennifer Ziffle, Director of Campus Safety,
Technical College System of Georgia, Atlanta, GA
Sam Baird +44 1883 715 697 Brian Rendine 972-687-6761
President & Group Publisher Editor-in-Chief/
Associate Publisher, Security Group Circulation Director Group Marketing Director Group Website Manager Group Webinar Administrator
Chief Executive Officer Chief Financial Officer Chief Technology Officer
Executive Vice President
Staff may be reached via email, telephone, fax or mail. A list of editors and contact information also is available online at
E-mail: To e-mail any member of the staff, please use the following form:
Dallas Office (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. CT) Telephone (972) 687-6700; Fax (972) 687-6799 14901 Quorum Dr., Suite 425, Dallas, TX 75254
Corporate Office (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PT) Telephone (818) 814-5200; Fax (818) 734-1522
6300 Canoga Avenue, Suite 1150, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Kevin O’Grady
Ralph C. Jensen Irene Fincher Susan May Scott Newhouse Tammy Renne
Rajeev Kapur Sanjay Tanwani Erik A. Lindgren
Michael J. Valenti

   72   73   74   75   76